hmmm, not quite the same level as Stanghelle who actually presented a fair and straight forward account seen from a Norwegian perspective. Hilde Henriksen Waage certainly plays her role as the offended host to perfection.
lifted from NRK.no (bad google translate)
20 years since the Oslo Accords and no peace in sight
Oslo accords did little distant Norway visible on the map of major international players. But there is still no peace in the Middle East .
Professor of History at the University and senior researcher at PRIO Hilde Henriksen Waage
20 years ago , 13 September 1993 , the Oslo Accords signed on the lawn in front of the White House in Washington. The whole world could see that Norway had played a major role in the peace process in the Middle East . Oslo Agreement was one of the more serious attempts to achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinians .
But the role played Norway in the Middle East peace process 20 years ago ? And finally , how can the final result – the Oslo Accords – explained?
Asymmetrical power situation
Oslo process reflected the basic asymmetrical power relationship between Israelis and Palestinians. Israel was – and is – the stronger party and was not willing to give up much at all . PLO was – and is – the weaker party and was willing to accept crumbs just to avoid becoming even more marginalized than the PLO everything was in 1993.
What action had Norwegian peace negotiators in such asymmetrical power situation?
The question is asked rarely , and it undermines the prevailing fairy tale of the Norwegian peace role in the Middle East .
Thorvald Stoltenberg tried
After the war , Norway had been one of Israel’s best friends. In 1979 , it was none other than the political fox and leader of the PLO , Yasser Arafat , who pointed out that Norway appropriate conflict resolution in the Middle East . He needed a friend that Israel could use its close ties to Israel to convey a message of peace.
Different Labor governments, with Thorvald Stoltenberg as the main driving force , tried several times , but Israel was not willing to listen to the message of peace that Norway had to bring with them from the PLO . So rant all these peace efforts into the sand. But the seed was added . Norway , which no longer was any avowed friend of Israel , had a strong desire to contribute to peace.
In January 1993, the Norwegians his secret channel, largely a small, unpretentious and unplanned role. The Norwegians’ goal was to be a facilitator and not mediate or get involved in negotiations. They would only pave the way for informal political contacts to see if anything could be done to remedy the ongoing peace talks in Washington, which was completely stalled . The results that have come out of the program in Norway , should be returned to the US -led negotiations. No one should know about what had taken place . Norway would only be a help and relief for the United States .
But it did not . In Norway , unlike in the U.S., did the Israelis and the Palestinians quickly – to everyone’s surprise – to agree on which way they should go . In Norway , again unlike in Washington, Arafat and the PLO had complete control over the proceedings. Arafat had the required position and ability to make the concessions he found necessary. Arafat was desperate to get back to the center of power . In Norway was therefore the Israelis and the Palestinians shortly after agreeing on a draft joint declaration .
Gradually changed Norway’s role in
The problems for the Norwegian peace brokers arose when Israel upgraded the secret negotiations in Norway for official negotiations . Israel’s goal in negotiations was to retain as much control as possible , give up as little land as possible and protect Israel’s security . On his journey toward a deal to PLO abandon many of their original claim . Israel pulled on his side back many of the concessions that were given at the beginning of the Oslo process . It was this phase of the negotiations that changed the Norwegian role. Gradually the Norwegians into a new role , they were active agents.
It was Israel , the strong party, which from now on specific game rules. If the Norwegian participants wanted to keep bacchanal alive, it had to happen on Israel’s terms. There were no other options. Israel was the party that would provide land and power to the Palestinians . About the Norwegians would be part of the peace process , they had to realize that it could not happen without the cooperation and goodwill of Israel. Why could not the Norwegians risk criticize Israeli positions. Such an attitude would make unacceptable Norway as facilitator and mediator. Norway may not be equally acceptable to both parties . Italic Norway had to be acceptable to the stronger party Israel. Mediator role assumed such loyalty.
Norway had no major muscles. Norway’s weak position implied that the Norwegians had to be most responsive to Israeli demands. Israel specific rules . Norway could like it or not, but there was nothing Norwegians could do with the asymmetrical power relationship . Norway is neither or the United States .
This was Norway’s action . Either did the Norwegian peace negotiators as best they could , given the circumstances , otherwise they could give up to get to an appointment and go home . These were the choices. Norway chose to stay and make the best out of the situation . It boiled down to persuade the PLO to abandon the position Israel found unacceptable and persuade Palestinians to accept Israeli demands . PLO had also understood that an agreement had to be negotiated on Israel ‘s terms. Otherwise PLO lose its position , and it could continue to sit alone without influence in exile. How Arafat saw it, was the Oslo Accords the best deal under the worst possible circumstances.
Achievements are not large
Middle East diplomacy made famous Norway . Peace Mediation had been one of the best “best exports ,” said then- Undersecretary Jan Egeland , the peace diplomacy’s standard-bearer in front of someone, in March 1995. The commitment made this remote little country visible on the map of major international players.
But the result did not materialize. Quickly it turned out that making peace in the Middle East was not as simple as that Norwegian peace brokers had hoped . The Norwegians could not achieve more than the stronger party Israel at all times was willing to allow . And it turned out not to be large . No peace was secured , and no peace in sight 20 years later .